The JSE may get a bump from Tencent as it looks to end 2022 on a record note on Friday, with global sentiment lifted by upbeat US and Chinese economic data, as well as receding fears about Omicron.
Concerns that the transmissibility of Omicron would result in hospitals coming under strain despite it being less severe have abated in recent days. Data on Thursday showed US unemployment claims rose by less than expected last week, further soothing concerns about the new variant.
China’s factory activity was also better than expected in December, data showed on Friday, accelerating for a second-consecutive month after coming under pressure from a power crunch earlier in the year.
Asian markets were mixed on Friday morning, but the Hang Seng was up 1.41%, while Tencent, which influences the JSE via the Naspers stable, gained 3%.
Both Naspers and Prosus have lost about a fifth so far in 2021, but this hasn’t stopped the JSE from gaining 24.2%.
The local bourse, however, will need to hold onto gains, having added 3% in the previous three sessions. The all-share index closed at a record high on Thursday, and will need to gain about 0.3% to reach 74,000 points.
There was some local good news as well, with SA’s curfew being lifted with immediate effect on Thursday after a special cabinet meeting, a boon for New Years revellers that have chosen not to stay at home for the festivities. This follows indications that SA has passed the peak of its fourth wave.
The rand was 0.14% firmer at R15.898/$ on Friday morning, but has weakened about 8% against the US currency so far in 2021.